When it comes to romantic places, there’s nothing quite like the ones to be found in Los Angeles. For between the mountains and the sea, there are countless spots in Southern California that are sure to make your hearts soar. Throw in a visit to a place that evokes your favorite romantic Hollywood film (like in the movie “LA LA Land,” perhaps, or maybe a spot seen in “L.A. Story” or one of the many found in “Pretty Woman”?) and we’re certain that your special someone will swoon with love when you suggest a tryst just like one you saw on the big screen. Think destinations like the Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park, where those sparks flew between James Dean and Natalie Wood in “Rebel Without a Cause,” or the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where Steve Martin wooed Victoria Tennant in “L.A. Story.” But with or without a cinematic connection, there are so many romantic places to be found in Southern California that it could take a lifetime to discover them all.
Photo courtesy of High Rooftop Lounge
The High Rooftop Lounge at Venice’s Hotel Erwin has the best L.A. city views you can find anywhere, hands down. Look one way and you see Catalina Island, the South Bay and LAX; look another and there’s Santa Monica Pier, Malibu and the Getty Museum. Keep looking and you see the Hollywood Hills, Century City, downtown Los Angeles and beyond. It’s also a warm and cozy bar with craft cocktails and tasty tapas. Lovers can snuggle on the comfy banquettes under the blankets provided to help patrons stay warm after the colorful sunset, but all patrons must be over 21 to be up on the roof. This lounge is so popular with locals and tourists that it is expanding, adding more bars to keep up with the demand, so making a reservation is advised to ensure a romantic seat with a spectacular view.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: There’s nothing like the view from this outdoor rooftop bar, it’s especially good for helping newcomers get orientated to where everything is in L.A.
Jenny’s expert tip: Bring a jacket for when the sun sets, or ask them for a blanket, which they will happily supply. It gets cool up there!
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Photo courtesy of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
Stroll the 120 acres of the Huntington’s astonishing and varied gardens (Chinese, Japanese, Australian, Desert, Rose, Jungle, Subtropical and more), then explore the library’s extraordinary collection of rare books and enjoy the art gallery’s impressive collection of artistic masterpieces including Thomas Gainsborough’s “The Blue Boy” on a cultural and horticultural date with the one you love. Be sure to check out the Greene and Greene collection that commemorates the work of Pasadena’s famed architects, too. Located in San Marino (about ten miles north of downtown L.A.), the Huntington has recently installed two new pavilions to its Chinese garden, added five rooms to its American Art Gallery and opened a new visitor center in 2015. The Huntington is open daily (except Tuesday) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Who needs to buy roses when you can bring your lover to one of the most famous gardens in the world?
Jenny’s expert tip: “Free Day” is the first Thursday of every month, but you must have a ticket and tickets sell out well before the free day. You must order them via phone or online, starting the first day of the preceding month.
Read more about The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens →
Photo courtesy of Carbon Beach Club Restaurant
The Carbon Beach Club Restaurant is one of the most romantic places in Southern California to while away an afternoon. Located on the beach overlooking the Malibu Pier, the restaurant is part of the Malibu Beach Inn, a lovely boutique hotel. At the restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and/or drinks (if that’s all you’re in the mood for), you’ll be swept up into the wonderfulness of it all, watching the waves crash along the shoreline, seeing the birds swoop and soar overhead and, if you are really having a lucky date, catching a humpback whale breach as it makes it way along the shoreline during migration seasons. Even if all you see are your lover’s star-struck eyes, this is a place that has love in the air. Plan an overnight stay at the award-winning hotel with their “Romantic Retreat” package, complete with champagne and strawberries.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Top-notch food and drinks paired with a practically private beach offering a view of the Malibu pier â” there’s everything lovers need at Carbon Beach Club.
Jenny’s expert tip: For a kickstarter to an exciting night, order the signature Johnnie-O Light & Sunny cocktail, made with Caliche Rum, ginger beer, lime and a kick of jalapeno.
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Photo courtesy of Getty Center
The Getty Center is the legacy of billionaire J. Paul Getty, a gorgeous paean to the arts. Perched high in the Santa Monica Mountains, the Richard Meier-designed complex is stunningly beautiful both outside and in. The museum’s vast collection includes works by Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Cezanne and many other artistic masters, as well as ancient antiquities, modern sculptures, illuminated manuscripts and more. Art lovers ready for a little romantic interlude will find the gardens particularly inviting (stop and smell the roses!) and the Restaurant at the Getty offers up locally sourced fare with an amazing view. The permanent collections are always on view as well as constantly changing special exhibitions. Admission is always free, but note that parking is $15.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: With views of the Pacific Ocean one way and downtown L.A. the other, the Getty Center is a wonderful photo op spot.
Jenny’s expert tip: Don’t miss Vincent Van Gogh’s “Irises” and be sure to wander through the impressive sculpture garden, hopefully holding hands.
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Photo courtesy of L.A. Philharmonic Hollywood Bowl
From April to October, the Hollywood Bowl is the most romantic place in SoCal to see concerts and performances of every kind. The summer home of the L.A. Philharmonic, it’s also the venue that hosts the Playboy Jazz Festival weekend every June. There’s sometimes ballet on the beautiful bandshell stage, sometimes a classic movie musical unspools with the whole audience singing along, and other times rock, country, Latin or pop musicians belt out their tunes. Bring your own picnic, wines â” and especially if you are sitting in a box while on an important date â” tablecloths and candles. Or have a first-rate dinner at Ann’s Wine Bar or The Backyard inside the bowl before the show; and remember that there’s no hurry to leave when the music ends, as the parking lots stack everyone’s cars, so it often takes a while to find a way out.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Listening to world-class music in a fabulous outdoor setting makes the Hollywood Bowl one of L.A.’s most romantic experiences ever.
Jenny’s expert tip: Bring your own wine and picnic basket to any of the shows at the Hollywood Bowl, but remember to use a carrier with wheels, for it’s a long, often steep walk from the parking lots to your seats.
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From the high bluffs right down to the ocean, Point Dume feels like your own private beach. Take a picnic and perch your blanket way above the water, all the while keeping your eyes wide open (unless you’re having a quick kiss), for Point Dume State Beach has the most dolphin sightings out of any beach in Los Angeles. And from January through March, be on the lookout for whales migrating past as well. Check out the multiple tide pools at low tide and enjoy the four-mile roundtrip hike on the well-maintained sandy trail. Take in the stunning views of the Channel Islands off in the distance when you reach the peak of that easy-moderate hike. Finally, end your romantic idyll at the restaurant at Paradise Cove, located nearby Barbra Streisand’s home, for a lovely beachside meal.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: It’s like having your very own beach, as the crowd never forms at Point Dume.
Jenny’s expert tip: Dine at Paradise Cove Restaurant after a lovely day at the beach.
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Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort
Lovers of all things Disney, Marvel and Star Wars know that Disneyland is the place where like minds find bliss. So grab your favorite partner, be she Minnie Mouse or he Han Solo or Captain America (you can even costume up for the adventure) and have a lover’s day in the park. Begin with a walk down Main Street and end with the fireworks-filled parade and laser light shows that happen every evening. In between, go on all the big rides â” the Matterhorn Bobsleds, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones, Galaxy’s Edge and especially the Haunted House, where snuggling is practically required. Make sure to meet Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Cinderella and all their friends, too. Don’t miss Mr. Toad’s Wild ride or the Mad Teacups and consider spending another day next door at Disney’s California Adventure Park, too.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: There are many romantic things to do at Disneyland from wishing at the wishing well to holding tight to your sweetheart down Splash Mountain.
Jenny’s expert tip: Be sure to take advantage of FASTPASS tickets to beat the lines; look for the ticket kiosks near the most popular rides and get a reserved time to ride, instead of standing in line.
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Photo courtesy of Santa Monica Travel and Tourism
The Santa Monica Pier is the most iconic spot in Santa Monica, the place that first comes to most people’s minds when they think of that famed SoCal beach city. It’s a long, wide pier that is packed with fun things for couples in love to do. There’s the pretty Ferris wheel, which we suggest riding after dark and stealing kisses at the apex (when you’re not drinking in the views of the water and the L.A. landscape to the east); take a whirl on that, the roller coaster and other fun rides, all colorfully curling against the skyline and providing a lit-up atmosphere at night. Carnival-style games also line the pier, so test your mettle and win a prize for the one you adore. There are plenty of souvenir shops, too, as well as eateries like The Lobster (right at the pier’s entrance) with gorgeous views and terrific food.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Lovers have been coming here for over 100 years to watch the sun set, canoodle on the beach and have fun on the rides.
Jenny’s expert tip: Across the street from the pier is The Promenade, a popular part of Santa Monica for walking about, shopping and grabbing something to eat.
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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Head for the hills as the sun begins to set and you’ll find one of L.A.’s most breathtaking spots for sparking a bit of love. The Griffith Observatory sits above the city in Griffith Park, the place Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone visited during their cinematic romance in “LA LA Land” and a wonderful spot for real-life lovers to take in the city views and look to the night sky. The observatory was recently renovated completely (it originally opened in 1935), and it still offers free public telescope viewing on every clear night in the city. Look up into the universe with the historic Zeiss telescope, the coelostat (solar telescope) or the portable telescopes on the lawn and a whole new perspective opens up. Visit the Samuel Oschin Planetarium for an in-depth show; there is an admission fee for those. Everything else, including parking, is free at the Griffith Observatory.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: The night sky above, the city lights below and a telescope to help you see the stars â” that’s the romance of the Griffith Observatory!
Jenny’s expert tip: Be sure to be in line for one of the outdoor telescopes well before 9:30 p.m. or you may not get a glimpse of the stars up close.
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Photo courtesy of Los Angeles County Museum of Art
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the Western United States. With all those nooks and crannies, romantics can get lost inside; or simply canoodle on a warm evening under the museum’s iconic Urban Light installation outside the entrance. That’s a perfect place to kiss in soft lighting. LACMA’s complex houses a permanent collection that spans the globe, covers every historical era and features works ranging from European to Asian and Islamic art. Don’t miss the impressive Latin American collection, which showcases pre-Columbian masterpieces, as well as works by modern and contemporary artists like Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Jose Clemente Orozco. Regularly rotating temporary exhibits, constantly changing film programs, lectures, courses and special events mean that there is always something new and fascinating going on at this top-notch museum. Don’t miss a kiss beneath the giant boulder, artist Michael Heizer’s “Levitated Mass,” either.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Experiencing world-class art, culture and love in one setting makes LACMA a wonderful place for romance.
Jenny’s expert tip: Admission on the second Tuesday of every month is free, for everyone including lovers.
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